Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our monthly dinner date with Debbie Keehn

November at San Clemente.

December at the Capistrano Train Station

Art class Christmas party and critique

Some of the artwork (mostly collages) that Mary critiqued ( a Christmas party tradition).

By Carol

By me

By Nina

By Doris

Some of my art friends, dressed in their Christmas finery.
Esther, Penny and Carol.

Santa Barbara Christmas

Our cozy little cottage.

Awakened to a beautiful sunrise.

Our hosts left us this cute little Christmas tree.

Megan's childhood stocking was hung by the chimney with care in hopes that her mother would fill it with presents fair.

One of the Montecito mansions decorated to the hilt.( We couldn't find Oprah's house)

Christmas morning at the Santa Barbara Mission with a wonderful choir and orchestra.

Went to the movies and saw Frost/Nixon- very, very good. We couldn't see "Last Chance Harvey" as we would have liked because Megan had to wait to see it with her boyfriend, Martin.
His sister produced it and her husband wrote and directed it. We also saw "Slumdog Millionaire". Wonderful.

Then on to L.A. to stay for a night at Megan's friend Amy's new house. She's at her parents for Christmas.

Had dinner with my brother.
This house was around the corner from his. Every year they add new decorations until the little house is positively dwarfed.

The view from Amy's window.

A drawing of Amy's father by Don Bachardy hanging in Amy's office.

A Bachardy portrait of Amy.

A beautiful drawing by Amy's mother, Jesse Homer French.

Megan having breakfast at The Alcove. (Two comments overheard- " $9.00 for a friggin bowl of oatmeal! " when it came to the table- " This could feed a family of five !")

Then on to shopping at the Soap Plant, the most wonderful quirky book and gift store. We also shopped at the new Americana shopping center in Glendale. It's like shopping in a real downtown. It even has a trolley. The stores were very upscale. Nancy wasn't feeling well and the crowds were horendous so we didn't stay long.

We had a wonderful time and it was so much fun being with Megan.
On the way to Santa Barbara we visited with Debbie Hill (Megan's stepmother) who's off on a trip around the world with three friends.
All the animals were so glad to see us when we got home

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Book Club Christmas Party-2008

We read" The Flying Troutmans", which we all enjoyed. It was the story of a very disfunctional family. The mother was institutionalized and the aunt was driving the two kids to reunite with their father. It was a very funny road trip. Troutman was the family name.

Our host for the evening- Roxanne, who decorated her house beautifully for the party.

Beth surveys the scene.

Beth D., Barb and Nancy

Vickie, Beth, Laurie, and Barb

Kathy enjoys the soup and bread.

Some of the wonderful food. Laurie made this appetizer.

Beth D.'s fantastic lamb chops

Grapes rolled in cheese and nuts. Delicious! Made by Barb.

A wonderful cheese dip made by Roxanne who also made a big pot of soup.

Nancy's pumpkin squares

Goat cheese and nuts, by Laurie.

I cheated and brought the cake from our photo shoot.

Another delicious cake. I can't remember who brought this. I should because it was sooo good. I think Beth brought it and got it at the Claim Jumper.

Vickie made a wonderful shrimp appetizer but I didn't get a good picture of it. She always has a beautiful presentation.

Kathie brought wine.

We all contributed to the Fallbrook Food Pantry instead of giving each other presents, although Kathie also contributed to a plant- a- tree organization in our name and Vickie gave us bookmarks from The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper company. They actually make the paper from elephant poo and part of the proceeds goes to the conservation of elephants. They have an interesting website;

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our beautiful avocado trees

I live in the middle of an avocado grove and we also have our office here. It's a nice place to work. We also have an unlimited supply of avocados. Sometimes we even get tired of them. Last year was a particularly good year so that means next year won't be good. That's how it is with avocados. It's going to be worse now because there's a shortage of water and the price of water is going way up. Being a farmer is new to me and I know nothing about it. Luckily I don't have to because we have a grove management co. that handles all the details.

Our beautiful avocado trees

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A day in the life of Banar Designs

Abbie checks the day's schedule.

Jeri brings in the " hockey-puck" cake. The recipes from England don't always work out. Must be something in the translation!

Jeri redid the recipe and made this beautiful cake.

Nancy walks Tootie and the neighbor's dog, Crispie after lunch. An everyday ritual. Tootie starts barking right after we put the last bite of lunch in our mouths to tell us it's time for her walk.

Jodi improves the look of the green tomato pie in the photo studio.

One of the photographs. Helen's Tropical Custard.

The beautiful end of the day.

Tuesday is a full day of photography. The cooks bring their food in. I get the settings ready.
Steve sets up the lights. Each of the four food shots take about 2 hours of primping the food and taking lots of different shots. Then the cooks have to have their hands photographed doing one of the steps of the preparation of the food.

Before photography day, I do a layout which has to be approved by the client and props and color schemes are chosen. The cooks have all presented three variations of a recipe to have one of them chosen by the client. These cooks are called "developers". They do an amazing job of making the food taste good and look good. They're Jodi, Vickie, and Helen. Rachel is going to be joining them. ( She's Jodi's daughter and has learned a lot from her mother.)

Nancy has to write up all the recipes according to the specifications of the client, make them fit the templates, make sure all the measurements have been converted from the foreign ones and much much more. Also lots of proofreading which I help with. There are 12 recipes per week.

Susan, the copywriter, writes the very creative captions that go with the cover photos.

Steve does all the beautiful photography and all the complicated computer work. He's a genius.

There are also several " tester" cooks who cook all the foreign recipes to make sure that they work. They also do measurement converting and have to type the recipe into a template. No easy job. They do it wonderfully. They're Jennifer, Jeri, Judy, Nicki, Sarah and Rachel.

There's lots more to be added later.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The cattery

I started out with two kittens who had been abandoned at a restaurant near our office. There had been five but I found homes for the other three. The first one is Zoe peering out from her cat tree. The next is Chloe, Zoe's sister. They used to be best friends but now they can't stand each other. Well, actually, they tolerate each other. They're about 12 yrs old now.

Then Abbie, a neighbors cat, had 5 kittens at my house. They never came to pick them up and then moved away. I found homes for all of the kittens but one . So now I had 4 cats. Abbie and her kitten Sassie. Of course Chloe and Zoe weren't happy so I took Abbie and Sassie to the office. Everybody needs office cats.

A little while later a black cat came walking by my house trailed by 5 little kittens. She tucked them away behind my house. I had a hard time capturing them all. The hardest to capture was the only boy, who managed to find his way into the roof area of my garage. He's retained the attributes of a ferral cat and has never been quite tamed. He sometimes lets me pet and brush him but is a real scaredy cat. I found more homes for all these kittens but the boy was returned.
They must have known how difficult he was going to be. So now I had the mother cat and her son. My friend, Jeri named them Mollie and Linus but I still call them Mama Kitty and Baby Kitty. With these last two and Chloe, Zoe, Abbie, and Sassie there are now 6.

I now have a house with room enough for all of them and to separate the ones who don't like each other. Chloe and Zoe have a room of their own with a screened in patio. Abbie and Sassie have the run of the house and the office. Mama Kitty usually joins them while keeping her distance. Baby Kitty has his own screened in patio. He's often joined by his mother and Abbie and Sassie.
They all have to be indoor cats because this is coyote country and several live in our avocado grove. They were here first so we tolerate them, but we're very careful with our pets.


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